Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative
FIA Project 4891002

    Incidental Take and Protecting Habitat for Migratory Birds in the East Kootenay Region, British Columbia
Project lead: Belcher, Marcie (Tembec)
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative
This project was undertaken in partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service to address ‘incidental take’ of nests, under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA). The objectives of the project were to develop and evaluate an approach to identify and protect habitat for migratory bird species identified under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA). Our approach centered on developing landscape level, coarse filter habitat models for select species, including an evaluation of the amount of current habitat with respect to spatial distribution and risk based on landuse allocation to forestery, a comparison of current habitat to habitat estimated to have been available under historic disturbance regimes, and to habitat projected to be available 250 years in the future under current forest management practices.
To select candidates for habitat modelling, we undertook a review of focal species on the Canadian Intermountain Joint Venture (CIJV) lists for forested habitat in the East Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia. Based on this review, the project team identified four species for habitat evaluation this year (Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher and Warbling Vireo). Two additional species were modelled last year (Brown Creeper and Red-naped Sapsucker) in a pilot project. For each species, detailed literature reviews were conducted and existing data from the study area analyzed and reviewed. This information was used to develop expert-opinion habitat models. The abitat models were then applied to the current landscape within the study area and evaluated for total area, spatial distribution and proportion of land allocated to forestry activities. The habitat models for two species (Townsend’s Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler) were applied to projections of historic landscapes, to determine the amount of habitat available for them under historic disturbance regime conditions. Our goal was to also apply these models to projections of future habitat, based on current forest management practices. However, these data were not available at the time this report was written, so the intent is to produce a final report when these data become available in mid-2009.
Preliminary results suggest that there is currently a substantial amount of suitable habitat for Townsend’s Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler in the study area. Olive-sided flycatcher and Warbling Vireo have less suitable habitat available due to more specialized habitat requirements. Current habitat for Townsend’s Warbler is roughly double that estimated to have existed historically, while the opposite was true for Wilson’s Warbler (current habitat roughly half historic). Estimates of historic habitat for Olive-sided Flycatcher and Warbling could not be made due to limitations in the historic habitat model with respect to habitat requirements of these species.
A field-based monitoring framework to verify and improve the current habitat models was developed and we intend for this to be used to implement a field monitoring program for the coming year, pending available funding.
Contact: Belcher, Marcie, (250) 426-9210,

Updated August 16, 2010 

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